Monday, 11 May 2015

Slow Down to Speed Up

I'm injured.

Great way to start a training blog, I know.
The lesson here is learning to listen. To your trainers, to your body, and apparently to your physio. Sigh.

Over the last few weeks I have learned about different training runs. Apparently the best way to train is not to just run progressively longer distances as fast as you can over a period of time. In fact, slowing right down can actually increase your cardio fitness and energy burn faster than going full-effort all the time. 
Mixing up hill running, tempo running, interval training and endurance slow pace running is the key. 

The slow stuff is where I have struggled up until now. Since I've been training consistently, I've been pushing my body pretty hard. It's never been "slow and steady wins the race". I'm used to feeling uncomfortable, which usually means that my body ends up sore and my workouts are short in duration. While it's all well and good to smash out a 10km as fast as possible, having to walk or crawl the remaining 11km isn't going to serve me, which means I need to slow down to speed up over all. 

Top of Mt Victoria after my second lap to the summit.
This face is for you Emma. It says "thank" you or something to that effect ;)

Redefining "Easy"
To me, an easy workout is something that I recover quickly from. A workout I'm not gasping for air and wishing was over. A 15km run didn't really come in into that category. According to those in the know, an "easy run" is where your heart rate sits at around 65-75% of your max. For me this is about 143bpm. I really struggle to keep my heart rate this low when running and I would pretty much be walking. Emma and I agreed that sitting in this zone should be conversational and feel cruisy. She set me a 15km run, and I held my heartrate around 155bpm and I did it. And it actually felt kind of easy (OK the last 3km killed me, but i finished it and I didn't need a nap).

I got slower and slower but my heart rate stayed stable and I didn't push to exhaustion

From here, Emma has put me through the paces figuring out my max 1km pace, my 3.5km pace, and tested me on a few hills. 

L-R: 1km intervals 45s rest between; 3.5km treadmill run (I had to stop, ugh!); 2 x Mt Vic hill run

Redesigning running

Working closely with Emma has given her the chance to really have a look at how I run and why I struggle to hold a faster pace. She's picked up a few anomalies in my running gait and areas of tightness and weakness in my hips and legs. Tight hips and hammys doesn't just mean I struggle to touch my toes (who needs to do that anyway), it also means I have to work harder to get the muscle to stretch so it can contract and propel me forward. It means I run slower and with a shorter stride. No wonder my poor heart is working over time to get me to run at an easy pace!

Now, not only do I have to work on slowing my running pace, but I have to look at slowing progressions with some of my strength training movements (squats, lunges etc) to teach my body to follow the correct movement patterns to improve my running gait. Lots of stretching, mobility and simple body weight exercises to get the right muscles firing.

So this is why I'm injured

Last week I went to visit Maddie, my physio at Proactive Rehab for a normal follow up on a niggle I've had in my foot for a few weeks that just isn't improving. She's been quite frustrated with this in not knowing what's causing the issue so did a little stress fracture test with therapeutic ultrasound. The result came back painfully suggestive that a small stress fracture may in fact be the issue. I've since been for an x-ray which showed nothing and have an ultrasound booked for this week which will hopefully give us an indication of what's going on. A stress fracture or ligament tear will mean up to 3 months recovery, not including rehab, which means no running, no BodyAttack and no July half marathon. What I'm hoping is that it is a bit of inflammation which can be managed with corrective mobility and strength training, along with a regime of ice and anti-inflammatories. 

Damn straight, I cried.

How the hell did this happen?

Yup, stress fractures often come from doing too much when your body isn't ready. Yup, this probably could have been caused by introducing long distance running and training to instruct BodyAttack all at once. They can also be caused by incorrect technique from slight misalignments in running gait. 
They aren't helped by pushing through the pain and not listening to your body. Sometimes it takes a badly landed tuck jump and someone to literally tell you to sit down, and f*cking stop. Thanks Mid. 

FOMO at Group Fitness Instructor Multi Module. #Cankle
I still passed though!
The new plan

Below is my new programme for this month designed by Emma (assuming I am given the go ahead to continue running. Please cross all fingers and toes, arms, legs and other appendages for me) which has been cut back to give me more rest, recovery and rehab. 
I've dropped one weights session (leaving just one each with Cath and Scotty now) and have limited the number of Attack classes I go to. My cycling has also been reduced to just my RPM classes while we focus on my running ready for the half marathon. 

I was given the no-go to shadowing Attack tonight to let my ankle rest and I am going to attempt the first tempo run tomorrow, but stop if it is hurting. If I make it through the run, I will foam roll my legs and ice my ankle straight afterwards. That's my commitment tonight so my next blog will be updates on my rehab habits.

Wait, are you still eating like a fat kid in a candy shop?

Quick update on the food plan - for the most part I have stuck to it and have found I have a lot more energy to train with. I have discovered though that I am a very emotional eater. It's when my training has been suffering due to my injury that I've found my eating has gone the most downhill. When I mope I eat crap. Great combination. 

1 comment:

  1. :) I've nominated you for a blog award...if you want to check out more, have a read here: